Brock Purdy

Purdy confident in improved arm strength, deep passing

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SANTA CLARA — At the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, there was doubt that Brock Purdy would be able to sufficiently throw the ball deep downfield after suffering an injury to his throwing elbow eight months prior. 

Now, through 13 games, the 49ers quarterback has been statistically better and more accurate than before the injury.

“I feel like right now, probably, out of all the years I've been playing football, this has probably been the best in terms of pushing the ball downfield and being efficient in that area,” Purdy said on Thursday. “Not just throwing it up in hopes for someone to grab it, but being efficient when I take my shots. I feel like it is probably the best that I've been throwing the ball right now.” 

After successful surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament during the offseason, Purdy implemented new rehabilitation and strengthening techniques for his recovering throwing arm.

With the continuation of those exercises included in Purdy’s usual routine, the quarterback has experienced increased strength compared to before the injury. More time in coach Kyle Shanahan’s system also has paid off.

“Working on mechanics, little things, and timing with the receivers, and being on the same page with them,” Purdy said. “I think all those little things have helped and they've paid off. I feel like there's still some areas where I can get better at with it, but I feel good with where I'm at right now.” 

Purdy has thrown 38 deep passes of 20 yards or more downfield this season. Of those, 24 attempts have been completions, giving him a league-high 63.2 percent completion rate according to PFF. The play-caller consistently has been putting the ball in his playmakers' hands but unlike in previous seasons, the 49ers have not needed to rely solely on yards after catch (YAC) to move the ball downfield.

Purdy has completed a league-high 70.2 percent of his attempts this season for 3,553 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. Yet the Iowa State product is ranked in the middle of the pack (17th of 32) this season for percentage of yards coming after the catch.

“I feel like I've always been efficient with the quick game [and] the intermediate game,” Purdy said. “But when it comes to pushing the ball down field, sort of just understanding what we're trying to do as an offense and once we get those kinds of opportunities, being aggressive and letting it rip.

“There are some areas where I can get better at with it, but yeah, I feel good with where I'm at right now.” 

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